Buried underneath St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness and sometimes Easter is Women’s History Month, a commonly forgotten recognition in the month of March.
The celebration began in 1981, when Congress started to honor women for a week in the beginning of the month. By 1995, it was established as a month-long event. Since then, leaders nationwide have especially acknowledged women during the month of March.
Although the full list could be endless, below are a few influential women who have made a permanent mark in our nation’s history.
Michelle Obama (1964-)
The current, and first African-American, first lady of the United States has made a strong impression on the nation in the last seven years, mostly through her message of poverty awareness, health and child obesity. She has a lengthy background in law and helped her husband, the first African-American president Barack Obama, win and re-win the presidency in 2008 and 2012, respectively. In her position she serves as an accredited role model for women in the United States.
Sandra Day O’Conner (1930-)
The first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Reagan, who vowed during his 1980 presidential campaign that he would appoint the first woman to the court.
Helen Keller (1880-1968)
Helen, who was left blind, deaf and mute as a result of a childhood disease, became an expert author and spokesperson for those with disabilities.
Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)
As one of the first female stockbrokers on Wall Street, she was the first woman to be nominated for U.S. president, nominated by the Women’s National Equal Rights Party.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
After being rejected by all six major medical schools because of her gender, she was the first woman to be awarded a medical degree after attending Geneva College in New York. She later started a women’s medical college, after her dispensary expanded into the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.
Harriet Tubman (c.1820-1913)
Not only did she pave way for women, but she paved way for the freedom of slaves as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading over 300 slaves to freedom.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) & Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
These two women joined forces in 1850 and broke ground for the Women’s Right’s Movement, fighting for economic freedoms for women. The two created the National Women’s Suffrage Association, with a mission of opposing the 15th Amendment because it excluded women’s rights to vote. Eventually Congress ratified the 19th Amendment in 1920, granting women the right to vote.
She helped explorers Lewis and Clark with translation, direction and was a symbol of peace between explorers and natives.